LOS ANGELES — The final at-bat for Adrian Gonzalez in 2017 turned out to be bittersweet. One day after hitting a home run and a double against the Padres, the Dodgers first baseman has been shut down for the remainder of the season with a bad back.
“Last night was such an emotional night, a special night. But coming in here today, the back tightened up. It’s obviously been his most difficult year of his career, very emotional for him to try to fight through it,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Right now, as it stands, we’re going to shut him down so we don’t cause more damage. We’ll get him ready for next year, and expect him to respond to rest.”
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Gonzalez missed 67 total games in two separate stints on the disabled list this season, first missing 12 games in May with elbow soreness, then missing two months with a herniated disc in his back. These were the first career DL trips for Gonzalez, who averaged 159 games played from 2006-16.
The injuries torpedoed his season, with Gonzalez hitting just .242/.287/.355 with three home runs and 17 doubles in 71 games. In August he played in the first 13 games since returning from the disabled list, starting 11, but in September Gonzalez has played in only nine games, starting four, while amassing just 20 plate appearances in 26 team games.
“With the way the season has gone, I’ve had a number of setbacks,” Gonzalez. “You don’t want to go into the postseason, play a game and the next day have a setback and figure out if they have to make a move or be down a day. There’s just too many question marks.”
On Tuesday, Gonzalez started for the first time in two weeks and had a pair of extra-base hits, including a home run to left field in the seventh inning. But rather than that propelling Gonzalez into a potential postseason role, that home run was his final at-bat of the year.
“On the heels of last night, and how well he played, helping us win a big league ballgame,” Roberts said. “Then to show up this morning and be tight and a little locked up, I know he’s very disappointed.”
“I felt great last night. The swings felt good, and everything felt right. It is what it is,” Gonzalez said. “That was encouraging, and I’ll take that into my preparation for next year.”
Gonzalez said he won’t travel when the team goes on the road this postseason, as airplane travel isn’t good for his back. His plan is to be an everyday player again in 2018, the final season of his contract with the Dodgers.
Health permitting, of course.